skip navigation
Dennis Dugan

Dennis Dugan

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Happy Gilmore: Special Edition... Adam Sandler stars in this hilarious comedy that scores a hole in one for... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry... Adam Sandler and Kevin James star as best friends and fellow firefighters Chuck... more info $9.99was $9.99 Buy Now

National Security DVD Earl (Martin Lawrence) and Hank (Steve Zahn) can't seem to escape each other.... more info $14.99was $14.99 Buy Now

The Howling DVD In this 1981 thriller, TV newscaster Karen White takes some much needed time off... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Big Daddy DVD Adam Sandler stars in one of the films that cemented his reputation as the king... more info $14.99was $14.99 Buy Now

Beverly Hills Ninja DVD The final film in the oeuvre of the late, great Chris Farley, "Beverly Hills... more info $14.99was $14.99 Buy Now



Also Known As: Died:
Born: September 5, 1946 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Wheaton, Illinois, USA Profession: director, actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Born and raised in Wheaton, Illinois, Dennis Dugan began acting in high school and, after graduating from Chicago's Goodman Theater School in 1969, relocated to NYC where he appeared off-Broadway in productions of "A Man's Man" and "The House of Blue Leaves". Moving to Hollywood in 1973, he worked in episodics, as well as TV-movies like "Death Race" and "The Girl Most Likely To . . ." (both ABC, 1973), before making an auspicious feature debut with an excellent comic performance in Jonathan Kaplan's light-hearted, drive-in sex comedy "Night Call Nurses" (1974), followed by appearances in "The Day of the Locust", "Night Moves" and "Smile" the following year. Dugan raised his profile significantly in 1976, first portraying Nick Nolte's best friend in the most-watched miniseries of its time, "Rich Man, Poor Man" (ABC), and later creating the title character of "Richie Brockelman: The Missing 24 Hours", an NBC TV-movie that also marked important career connections with executive producers Stephen J Cannell and Steven Bochco. He later reprised that role on episodes of NBC's "The Rockford Files" and in the short-lived 1978 spin-off series "Richie Brockelman, Private Eye". After one more go at Brockelman in...

Born and raised in Wheaton, Illinois, Dennis Dugan began acting in high school and, after graduating from Chicago's Goodman Theater School in 1969, relocated to NYC where he appeared off-Broadway in productions of "A Man's Man" and "The House of Blue Leaves". Moving to Hollywood in 1973, he worked in episodics, as well as TV-movies like "Death Race" and "The Girl Most Likely To . . ." (both ABC, 1973), before making an auspicious feature debut with an excellent comic performance in Jonathan Kaplan's light-hearted, drive-in sex comedy "Night Call Nurses" (1974), followed by appearances in "The Day of the Locust", "Night Moves" and "Smile" the following year. Dugan raised his profile significantly in 1976, first portraying Nick Nolte's best friend in the most-watched miniseries of its time, "Rich Man, Poor Man" (ABC), and later creating the title character of "Richie Brockelman: The Missing 24 Hours", an NBC TV-movie that also marked important career connections with executive producers Stephen J Cannell and Steven Bochco. He later reprised that role on episodes of NBC's "The Rockford Files" and in the short-lived 1978 spin-off series "Richie Brockelman, Private Eye".

After one more go at Brockelman in yet another episode of "The Rockford Files", Dugan landed the recurring role of Captain Freedom in the Bochco-produced "Hill Street Blues" (NBC) in 1982. He returned as a series regular heading the cast of "Empire" (CBS, 1984), a sitcom spoof of the then-popular "Dallas". He also added a zany touch as the wisecracking tabloid reporter Edgar 'Benny' Benedek in the comedy-fantasy "Shadow Chasers" (ABC, 1985-86). By this time, Dugan was very interested in stepping behind the camera and he embarked on a five-month apprenticeship at Stephen J Cannell Productions, culminating in his first directing assignments, two 1987 episodes of the NBC series "Hunter". He also helmed episodes the following year of the Cannell-produced series "Wise Guy" and "Sonny Spoon" while beginning his run in the recurring role as Cybill Shepherd's husband in the ABC series "Moonlighting". When its producers discovered he was directing for other series, they brought him on board to helm numerous episodes of the show's last season (1988-89).

In addition to his new career as a TV director, Dugan also continued acting in features although very few parts were memorable. It was perhaps inevitable that he would move to the helmer's chair for features and in 1990, he made his directorial debut with "Problem Child" (1990), a botched comic twist on "The Bad Seed" that had some amusing moments. Dugan attempted valiantly to recreate the flavor of the Marx Brothers' 1935 classic "A Night at the Opera" with John Turturro (Groucho), Bob Nelson (Harpo), Mel Smith (Chico) and Nancy Marchand (Margaret Dumont) scoring high marks for good intentions without really pulling it off. He delivered a commercial, if not critical, success with "Happy Gilmore" (1996), starring "Saturday Night Live" cast member Adam Sandler in one of his patented, puerile roles as a lovable loser. Taking its inspiration from "Caddyshack", this golfing comedy fell far below the level of its model while managing to gross a combined $75 million between box-office and video rentals, insuring that the greatest laughs occurred on the way to the bank. The director next teamed with another "SNL" star--Chris Farley--on "Beverly Hills Ninja" (1997), which opened at the Number One less than a year later (before word of mouth effectively killed it), giving him the distinction of being the only director to have two films open in less than 11 months in the top two spots on the box-office charts. Dugan reteamed with Sandler on "Big Daddy" (1999), bringing his expertise for working with children (particularly on "Problem Child") to the project co-starring twins Cole and Dylan Sprouse (from the ABC series "Grace Under Fire") as the little boy who enters and changes a feckless slacker's (Sandler) life. Without Sandler, however, Dugan's next comedic effort, 2001's limp sex farce "Saving Silverman" was a flop. The director next teamed with a top-level star, comedian Martin Lawrence, for his next effort, "National Security" (2003).

Dugan had not given up acting (he has managed to take on roles in many of the films he helms), but directing enabled him to be a little more exclusive about the parts he takes. Despite graduating to the big screen, he continued to work frequently as a TV director through the 1990s, often on series produced by Bochco, including episodes of "Civil Wars" and "Doogie Howser, M.D." (both on ABC during the 1992-93 season), "L.A. Law" (NBC, 1993-94 season), "Byrds of Paradise" (ABC, 1994) and "NYPD Blue" (ABC, 1993-95; 1997-98 seasons). For Cannell Productions, he helmed episodes of "Traps" (CBS, 1994), not to mention the pilot for the executive producer's "Marker" (UPN, 1995), and "Doogie Howser" inaugurated a creative relationship with yet another TV series heavyweight David E. Kelley, an association he would renew helming episodes of the hit series "Picket Fences" (CBS, 1993-95 seasons), "Chicago Hope" (1994-95 season) and "Ally McBeal" (Fox, 1997-98 season). Dugan also worked as a director for two other UPN vehicles, "Love Boat: the Next Wave" (1998-99) and the musical comedy series "Shasta McNasty" (1999).

After a number of forgettable directorial efforts, Dugan reunited with Sandler for a string of major hits, beginning with 2007's "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry," which paired the "SNL" vet with Kevin James and conquered the box office, despite poor reviews. Judd Apatow got into the mix as a screenwriter with the Sandler/Dugan production "You Don't Mess with the Zohan" (2008), resulting in a gleefully absurd movie about a hairdressing former super-soldier. Next Sandler and Dugan reunited various "SNL" alumni, along with James, for the family-oriented mega-hit "Grown Ups" (2010) and managed to annoy critics twice in one year with 2011's "Just Go with It," co-starring Jennifer Aniston, and "Jack and Jill," featuring the leading man in drag. In 2013, both Dugan and Sandler experienced their first sequel with "Grown Ups 2," which, naturally, met with huge commercial success.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Grown Ups 2 (2013)
2.
3.
4.
  Grown Ups (2010)
7.
  Benchwarmers, The (2006) Director
8.
  National Security (2003) Director
9.
  Saving Silverman (2001) Director
10.
  Big Daddy (1999) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Grown Ups 2 (2013)
2.
 That's My Boy (2012)
3.
 Jack and Jill (2011)
4.
 Grown Ups (2010)
7.
8.
  (1996) Doug Thompson
9.
 Problem Child (1990) All American Dad
10.
 Parenthood (1989) David Brodsky
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Acted in the off-Broadway production "A Man's Man"
1973:
Episodic TV debut, "Love American Style" (ABC)
1973:
Acted in the ABC TV-movie, the camp classic "The Girl Most Likely to..."
1974:
Feature debut, "Night Call Nurses"
1976:
Played Nick Nolte's best friend in the ABC miniseries "Rich Man, Poor Man"
1976:
First appeared in the role of Richie Brockelman for the NBC movie "Richie Brockelman: The Missing 24 Hours"
1977:
Reprised the character of Richie Brockelman for "The House on Willis Avenue" episode of NBC's "The Rockford Files"
1978:
Debut as series regular, playing the title role in "Richie Brockelman, Private Eye" (NBC)
1979:
Again played Brockelman in "The Return of Richie Brockelman" episode of NBC's "The Rockford Files"
1981:
Had prominent part in Joe Dante's hip "The Howling"
1982:
Played recurring role of Captain Freedom on NBC's "Hill Street Blues"
1984:
Returned as a series regular on CBS's "Empire" playing Ben Christian
1985:
Played regular role of Edgar 'Benny' Benedek on the ABC series "Shadow Chasers"
1987:
Made TV directing debut with two episodes of NBC's "Hunter"
1988:
Had recurring role as Cybill Shepherd's husband on ABC's "Moonlighting"; also directed several episodes
1988:
Acted in John Hughes' "She's Having a Baby"
1989:
Portrayed David Brodkey in "Parenthood"
1990:
Feature directorial debut, "Problem Child"; also played a small role
1992:
Directed "Brain Donors," a take-off on the Marx Brothers' "A Night at the Opera"
1994:
TV-movie directing debut, "Columbo: Butterflies in Shades of Grey" (ABC)
1995:
Directed the pilot for the UPN adventure series "Marker"
1996:
Scored major box-office triumph at the helm of "Happy Gilmore" starring Adam Sandler; also acted
1997:
Helmed the less successful Chris Farley vehicle "Beverly Hills Ninja"
1993:
Directed episodes of ABC's "NYPD Blue"
1999:
Reteamed with Sandler as director of the big screen comedy "Big Daddy"
2001:
Helmed the big screen comedy "Saving Silverman"
2003:
Directed Martin Lawrence and Steve Zahn in the action-comedy "National Security"
2006:
Directed the comedy "The Benchwarmers" with Rob Schneider and David Spade
2007:
Directed Adam Sandler and Kevin James in the gay themed comedy "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry"
2008:
Once again directed Adam Sandler in the comedy "You Don't Mess with the Zohan"
2010:
Directed and made a cameo as a referee in the ensemble comedy "Grown Ups," about five friends who reunite for a Fourth of July holiday weekend; film starred Sandler, James, Chris Rock, Spade, and Schneider
2011:
Helmed the romantic comedy "Just Go with It," starring Sandler and Jennifer Aniston
2011:
Directed seventh Sandler feature, "Jack and Jill"; also played Al Pacino's standby in the film
2013:
Helmed "Grown Ups 2"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Trinity University: San Antonio , Texas -
Wheaton Central High School: Wheaton , Illinois - 1963
DePaul University: Chicago , Illinois - 1969

Notes

About reteaming with Sandler on "Big Daddy": "I like the process that we have. It's a bit different from any other process in terms of making a film--it's very collegial. I'd work with Sandler if he called up and said, 'I've got an idea to dramatize the phone book.'" --Dennis Dugan

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Joyce Van Patten. Actor.
wife:
Sharon O'Connor.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Kelly Dugan.

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute